PNG seeks second district win against high-powered Eagles

Published 12:32 am Friday, October 8, 2021

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches-Groves Indians are looking for back-to-back wins when they take on the Barbers Hill Indians this week.

The Indians (3-2, 1-1 in District 12-5A Division II) host the Eagles (2-3, 1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

PNG is coming off 42-35 road win over Dayton, while the Eagles are coming off a 53-46 overtime loss to Crosby.

The Indians found themselves in a shootout last week and might see a similar game Friday. The Eagles’ high-powered offense has only been held under 40 points once this season when they played Memorial.

Barbers Hill has the district’s top-ranked offense, averaging 500 yards per game. However, the Eagles also have the district’s second worst defense and have given up more passing yards than any other team in the district.

“They are a very talented team,” PNG Head Coach Brandon Faircloth said. “They play hard and play the right way. They are very disciplined. Coach (Carl) Abseck does a great job and they are a great team.”

Abseck is in his first season as head coach of the Eagles. Faircloth said coaches typically have a lag period between implementing a new system and the players feeling comfortable with it, but added the Eagles seem to be taking to it well.

“They have a lot of guys back from last year,” Faircloth said. “It takes time to adjust but with the kids they have, they will adjust quickly. They believe in their system and the kids have bought in. Last week against Crosby, they played a really good game on both sides of the ball. They just came up short.”

PNG’s offense ranks sixth in the district and the defense is fourth.

The offense, led by quarterback Cole Crippen and running back Koby Trahan, put on, arguably, its best performance of the year against Dayton.

Faircloth said he hopes the momentum carries over.

“We are just taking it one game at a time,” he said. “We can’t worry about last week or next week. Everyone in the state, pretty much, has five games to go. We are halfway done the season. We have to go one play at a time and put our best effort forward at practice. In this district, everyone has great coaches and great players. Anything can happen on a Friday night. We just have to give ourselves the best chance.”

Barbers Hill’s Garrette Hagler leads this district in rushing with 658 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Trahan is second with 614 yards.

The Eagles also use senior quarterback Brent Holdren in the running game. Holdren is second in the district for passing yards, but also fourth in the district in rushing yards.

Crippen is fourth in the district passing standings with 847 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.